eMedinewS Editorial

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Chaar Dham ‘Yatra’

Chaar Dham ‘Yatra’ is observed every year in the month of April/May and is open to visitors for next six months. It usually starts from Akshay Tritya date till the day of Diwali. Chaar Dham ‘Yatra’ covers Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. The doors of Yamunotri and Gangotri this year will open on 6th May. Doors of Kedarnath open on 8th May and those of Badrinath on the 9th of this month.

People can have ‘Yatra’ in the form of “Two Dham Yatra” or “Chaar Dham Yatra”. In the two dham Yatra, one can either choose Yamunotri and Gangotri or Kedarnath and Badrinath. In the four dhaam Yatra, one can visit all the four dhaams in the above sequence. It is a tour of 8–12 days for spiritual purification.

Normally, it is said that at least once in a life time one should go for this Chaar Dham Yatra.

There is a spiritual significance attached to the yatra. Whenever a person is disturbed, stressful, with impacted guilt, this ‘Yatra’ provides an environment to detoxify the mind and intellect.

Being away from stressful atmosphere and starting a journey in a different environment with focus on God or inner happiness provides an opportunity to get rid of any stressor. It normally takes 1 to 2 weeks for the mind to settle when it is away from the stressor.

A journey over 8–12 days also helps in acclimatization to the journey to the mountains. Rapid ascent can lead to acute mountain illness with or without swelling of the lungs and that of the brain. For any travel of more than 5000 feet, one should not ascend rapidly. The formula is: between an ascent of 5000 to 10000 feet, there should be minimum one night halt after climbing 10000 feet; for every 1500 feet acsent, there should be a night halt and after 3000 feet, there should be a full day halt.

At Yamunotri and Gangotri, one detoxifies the emotions by way of dip in the holy river (Yamuna or Ganga). Before the dip, one is supposed to narrate his problem to oneself and ask the God or inner consciousness to forgive him or her. This confession to self and/or to the God helps in detoxifying the mind.

Once the mind and emotions are detoxified, travelling further to Kedarnath and Badrinath, remembering the principles of Shiva and Vishnu helps one to attain a positive state of mind.

Taking a dip at Yamunotri and Gangotri are regarded as spiritual processes to remove negativity and clean the mind; those at Kedarnath and Badrinath, to go back with a positive state of mind and full of energy. Shiva teaches the process of how to wind up a process and Vishnu teaches how to manage any work.

When we learn the principles and steps of creativity, we learn the steps of intended outcome, information gathering, information reshuffling/ analysis, incubation, insight, inspiration, integration, and implementation and incarnation.

The phases of intended outcome, information gathering, information reshuffling can be stressful to the mind and to remove that stress, one needs to divert away from the project (incubation) for few days and this diversion makes the mind creative with a new insight. This ‘incubation’ principle of creativity is used in “Chaar Dham Yatra”. The period of 8–12 days away from the routine stress provides an incubation period with resultant time to give one new insight and inspiration for positive actions. A similar effect may not be obtained during holidays to a hill station where one may carry stress along with them.

Treatment of an addiction is to get addicted to a non–addictive thing. Likewise, the only way stress can be removed is to get addicted to path of inner happiness or thinking of God. This is the main aim of “Chaar Dham Yatra” where one climbs mountains, a clean and relaxed environment.

Many people who don’t go to the Chaar Dham yatra in Uttarakhand may prefer to go for another Chaar Dhaam yatra in India – Badrinath, Dwarka, Jagannath Puri and Rameshwaram, in this sequence.

Dr KK Aggarwal
Editor in Chief